At the risk of appearing a little dated in this updated-to-the-second online world, I can’t help but point out a couple interesting items from late last week.
• The first comes from a great story by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford, on your favorite topic and mine – fighting in hockey.
There’s a couple passages in particular that deserve comment. We’ll start with Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchchock’s thoughts on fisticuffs in the modern-day NHL, thoughts that start off perfectly logical, but tail off quickly into borderline lunacy:
"I hate when two guys just fight because they happen to be the tough guys,” Hitchcock said. “You're (now) seeing a lot of fights because teams are being teams. If a star player gets whacked, there's an immediate response right now. (Fighting is) back policing the sport in the right way (italics added).”
Yeah, I know that all I hear when I watch other ultra-physical sports such as football and rugby are coaches yearning for their leagues to turn over the supplemental discipline process to the players. Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot – hockey is different. Puh-leeze.
In the same story, Columbus goon Jody Shelley sounded altogether depressed in remembering the “good old days”:
“When I came into the league (in 2000), I fought 30 times for the first three years,” he said. “Guys are coming in now and fighting 14-15 times…I've had games where guys turned down fights because they're up by two goals and that just seems acceptable now.”
Awwwww. I agree, Jody, it’s a real shame to see this sport degenerate to the point where mere goals are enough to keep teams and players focused on winning. One can only hope saner minds soon prevail, and we eventually return to the days when men were men and brains were mush.
• The other must-read item from last week is the fictional blog of the already-legendary Creed character from NBC’s The Office. All of Creed’s blog entries are comedy gold, but this one, in which the fiftysomething-year-old describes his latest Halloween outing, should be of great amusement to hockey fans. Enjoy!
When I trick-or-treat, I always wear a full facemask so nobody knows how old I am. This year I went as classic Montreal Canadiens hockey goalie Jacques Plante. You’re always good to go when you’re dressed as a famous former athlete. People revere athletes. They love giving them candy. To further get around the age issue, I pretended I was a deaf-mute version of Jacques Plante so nobody could hear my voice. That really made the difference. I carried around a note to explain the whole thing.
“Dear Person, Happy Halloween. I’m a deaf-mute, which is why I can’t say trick-or-treat. I still want your candy though, so please dump it in my bag. You may want to give me double if you feel guilty about my disability.
Peace and love, Former Montreal Canadiens Hockey Goalie Jacques Plante”
One guy thought I was actually Jacques Plante and he wouldn’t give me anything. I guess he was a big Maple Leafs fan.